Newseum :: Washington D.C.
The Newseum in Washington, D.C. in an interesting concept: a museum solely devoted to the news and how it’s made. Unlike most of the museums in Washington, D.C. including the Smithsonian, the Newseum isn’t free. A pass good for two consecutive days costs $21.95 for an adult. Nevertheless, the Newseum is well worth a visit.
Big news exhibits:
The museum has several permanent exhibits devoted to big-headline stories, including 9-11 and the toppling of the Berlin wall. Temporary exhibits such as one covering Hurricane Katrina are also featured. Each of these is powerful and moving. The 9-11 exhibit includes a piece of the actual wreckage, and the Berlin wall exhibit features a section of the wall, graffiti and all.
Pulitzer Prize-winning photo exhibits:
A large exhibit is devoted to the iconic photos of our time. Many of these will be familiar to most viewers, but the stories behind them are what make the exhibit so fascinating, from great photos gotten by accident to Kevin Carter, the photographer who committed suicide after the public outcry about his failure to help a Sudanese famine victim.
Don’t miss the NBC news interactive newsroom, where you can pretend to be a journalist or photographer and do your own news story. The four-D movie is worth a look, although it would be more satisfying if it were longer. The entire museum is full of news feeds, headline displays, and short films about the making of the news. There are thousands of things to look at and hear.
One not-to-miss feature is Hollywood: Fact or Fiction, a film of clips portraying journalists and newscasters in the movies. It can be found in sidebar theater four on level five. This is definitely a case where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. From clips of Citizen Kane to people leaning out of their windows to shout “I’m madder than hell and I’m not going to take it anymore,” this film intersperses the old with the new. It will make you want to rent every movie portrayed.
The Newseum has a chaotic feel, with dozens of auditory and visual news bits vying for your attention. While this feel is quite appropriate for the fast-moving news business, it does tend to blunt the emotional impact of the most affecting news stories. Some slower paced exhibits to provide down time might have made the whole package more effective. Nevertheless, the Newseum is well worth a look. Allow at least one full day to view the museum, and two if your stamina is limited.
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